FEAR: AG Josh Stein to Withhold Public Records Until After Election
AG refuses to comply with mandatory records production surrounding secretive deal to rewrite the rules of his own election
By contrast, Board of Elections produced thousands of documents while simultaneously administering election, but AG is silent
Raleigh, N.C. — Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein secretly negotiated with Democratic Party super-lawyer Marc Elias to change the rules of Stein’s own election after balloting already began.
He’s refused to turn over public records surrounding the secret mid-election negotiations, and yesterday his office reported that it will continue withholding responsive documents until after Election Day.
Sen. Warren Daniel (R-Burke), who co-chairs the Senate Elections Committee, said, “Josh Stein is afraid to reveal the truth before Election Day. Exactly what written communications between Josh Stein and Marc Elias is the Attorney General hiding from the public? Our state’s top law enforcement officer secretly negotiated a settlement to change the rules of his own election after voting started, and his continued obstruction makes it clear that he never intended to provide any responsive records until after Election Day.”
Last month, Gov. Roy Cooper’s Board of Elections and Attorney General Stein ambushed their co-defendants, the legislature, by “settling” a lawsuit filed by Gov. Cooper’s former lawyer, Marc Elias, to undo state laws guarding against absentee ballot fraud. Two federal judges rebuked the move, and the case is now pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Following the secretive deal, legislators sent records production requests under G.S. 120–19 to both the N.C. State Board of Elections and Attorney General Josh Stein. The request to Attorney General Stein was sent 29 days ago.
The Board of Elections responded with thousands of documents within days, despite an ongoing election and a fraction of the staff the Dept. of Justice has.
Yesterday, when prompted to run a simple search for a small subset of the requested records (those between the Attorney General’s office and the law firm Perkins Coie), Attorney General Stein’s office replied that they won’t share any records now but expect to “be able to begin the rolling production next week.”
Of course, Election Day is next Tuesday.